In the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, it has been cultivated by indigenous people for centuries, and will grow in warm climates up to altitudes of 1,700 meters (5,500 feet) as long as there is continued availability of water and good drainage. It grows better in acidic soils and alluvial flats near rivers.
The plant reaches a height of 2 m (6′ 6″), with alternate, heart shaped, serrated leaves, 10 to 12 cm long (4″-4.7″) and 8 to 10 cm (3.1-3.9″) wide, that have petioles 2–6 cm (0.8-2.3″) long. It flowers five months after being planted, and bears seeds around the eighth month. The male flowers are small, white, and arranged in clusters. Two female flowers are located at the base of the inflorescence. In tropical locations it is often a vine requiring support and producing seeds nearly year-round.
The fruits are capsules of 3 to 5 cm in diameter with 4 to 7 points, are green and ripen blackish brown. On ripening, the fruits contain a soft black wet pulp that is messy and inedible, so are normally left to dry on the plant before harvest. By two years of age, often up to a hundred dried fruits can be harvested at a time, giving 400 to 500 seeds a few times a year. Fruit capsules usually consist of four to five lobes, but some may have up to seven. Inside are the seeds, oval, dark-brown, 1.5 to 2 cm in diameter and 45 to 100 grams of weight.[clarification needed] The cotyledons are open, similar to those of almonds, and covered with a whitish film. Raw seeds are inedible, but roasting after shelling makes them palatable.
The seeds of inchi have high protein (27%) and oil (35 – 60%) content, and the oil is rich in the essential fatty acids omega-3 linolenic acid (≈45-53% of total fat content) and omega-6 linoleic acid (≈34-39% of fat content), as well as non-essential omega-9 (≈6-10% of fat content).